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to get back to work. >> reporter: with the election in the rear view mirror, the focus in washington is back on efforts to avoid the economically devastating fiscal cliff. >> we just go over the cliff and let the policies stay in effect are we're basically going to undo the recovery. >> reporter: the cliff amounts to $7 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases over the next decade. the treat of these painful cuts, set to begin on january 1st is part of a deal congress and the president made last year to force them to agree on a long-term deficit reduction plan. >> this is an unprecedented scenario that congress has basically put a gun to its own head and said if we don't act we're going to shoot ourselves. >> reporter: so far, that long-term plan hasn't materialized. the biggest chunk of the cliff, the bush tax cuts. they are also a big sticking point democrats insist cuts for families making $250,000 more must end. >> we're serious about reducing the deficit. we have to combine spending cuts with revenue and that means asking the wealthiest americans to pay a little more in ta
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